100 Years of Service

The Junior League of Chicago (JLC) has promoted voluntarism and the potential of women in the community since it was founded 100 years ago.


When Lucy McCormick Blair Linn and twelve of her friends founded JLC in 1912, their first projects addressed the problems that women were having in the workplace. Their very first project was the organization of “rest rooms” where women could take a break during the work day and recieve services such as medical care and training in new skills.

Following WWI, the Junior League expanded to invest in children and the arts, founding the country’s first children’s theater. In the 1940s, JLC began Chicago’s fist Epilepsy Consultation Clinic in partnership with the University of Illinois College of Medicine. As the century progresed, JLC continued to expand its support of children, the arts and health concerns.

Today, the JLC continues to empower at-risk families through mentoring, advocacy and education. As Michelle Miller Burns, president of the Junior League, states, “We train leaders, We serve our community, We change lives. This is what the Junior League of Chicago has done for 100 years. It is who we are and who we will continue to be as we enter our second century of service.”

To commemorate their centennial, the JLC has spent the past year focusing on the vision of their founder by participating in programs that allow them to connect with their city. Their Centennial Days of Service are large-scale service projects aimed at working with new foundations and strengthening existing partnerships to benefit the community. Their first project in June gathered more than 4,000 pounds of food for Common Pantry, Chicago’s oldest continually operating food pantry.

In celebration of their anniversary, the JLC is hosting A Centennial of Service Gala on Thursday June 28th at the Four Seasons Hotel. The Gala includes a cocktail reception, dinner and a program. This once in a lifetime event will help to raise the funds necessary to allow JLC to continue to make an impact in the community for generations to come. Following the Centennial of Service Gala, there will be a Nightcap Party. The Nightcap Party will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dancing as well as a celebratory centennial toast.

To purchase tickets for A Centennial of Service Gala, click here. To purchase tickets for the Nightcap Party, click here.

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